We are all used now to plastic milk containers, the bottle has all but passed into history. They do still exist, we get them delivered at work, but they are a dying breed (as is the milkman). The tall ‘proper’ milk bottles from my childhood are now museum exhibits!
Equally colour is important in milk containers – we are all conditioned to the colour coded tops – blue for full cream, green for semi skimmed and red for white water (sorry – fully skimmed). The most popular is the green top, but all of these plastic containers are actually very environmentally unfriendly and are a major problem for landfills. Each day some 15m plastic bottles are used in the UK, many ending up on the country’s burgeoning waste mountains. And as the average plastic bottle takes 500 years to decompose, this legacy will have an impact on generations to come.
But now a Suffolk-based inventor believes he may have found the answer to Britain’s rapidly developing landfill crisis.
The GreenBottle, which looks remarkably like the conventional two-litre plastic bottles on supermarket shelves, comprises a sturdy paper shell with a plastic liner to keep the milk fresh. Once the lining is ripped out, the paper shell can be quickly flattened and recycled up to seven times – plastic bottles can be recycled only once. Alternatively the paper bottle can be turned into compost within a matter of several weeks.
There are already greener alternatives to plastic bottles, such as plastic pouches, but some supermarkets have withdrawn them because customers found them unwieldy.
The bottle has been trialled at Asda stores in East Anglia and a national roll-out across the supermarket chain will start this week, beginning in Cornwall.
Asda’s decision to introduce the bottles nationally should help bring costs of production down although the price is already the same as a plastic bottle.
Let’s hope this idea catches on as it could reduce landfill significantly.